MLB fans worldwide can thank April showers in the Northeast for giving them the most anticipated pitching match-up so far this season because this one that
was not supposed to happen.
As the Yankees Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will now face his fellow countryman Rangers Yu Darvish in the second game of this three game set down in Arlington; and all due to the Yankees postponed game in Fenway Park this past Sunday.
Just in case you missed last night’s game, CC Sabathia pitched a gem and the Yankees bats backed up their ace, as they beat the Rangers 7-4. It was an all around great team effort from New York, as the Yankees look better with every passing game.
Now back to tonight….
This match-up could be the most watched of the season because the entire country of Japan is sure to tune in, as both Kuroda and Darvish are two of their most famed countryman.
Neither pitcher has been stellar this season, but expect them to put on big show tonight.
Kuroda has shown what he capable in both directions, as he was phenomenal in his Yankee Stadium début but got shelled in his other two starts.
So far Kuroda is posting a 5.00 ERA, giving up three homers, 10 earned runs, six walks and 12 strikeouts over 18 innings pitched. Kuroda went into the ninth inning in one start and couldn’t get through the fourth in his other two.
This has left Yankee fans wondering which Kuroda will show up tonight, the great one or the bomb?
You can bet the Yankees bullpen is on high alert and ready to go because if Kuroda is not dominant the Rangers bats will hit him hard and score runs from the get-go.
In his career, Kuroda has only faced the Rangers for 31 at-bats where he struck out six, walked two, gave up two doubles and allowed zero homers. It is a very small sample size to even attempt to predict what could happen.
Yu Darvish was the talk of the off-season, as the Japanese phenom was posted as baseball fans waited to see who would get him.
The Rangers did, but paid over $100 million bucks to get him here.
Tonight will be Darvish’s fourth start in the Majors, and first against the Yankees.
So, how could anyone think that Darvish has an advantage against this potent Yankees line-up?
Well, the Yankees line-up is close to perfect but one of their biggest flaws is that they tend to struggle against pitchers they have never faced before; and it is usually a team effort.
Meaning that Darvish’s non-existing history against New York might be all that the Rangers need.
Darvish features an array of pitches, including a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a cutter, a slider, a curveball, a change-up and a splitter.
Now, there is no guarantee the Yankees will shank but if you ask any Yankees fan the odds are in Darvish’s favor in this scenario.
Still, Darvish could very well get smacked around if he doesn’t throw more strikes. Currently, Darvish has 13 walks on the season, which is the most in baseball and the Yankees hitters do not swing easily. (Please refer to chart below courtesy of BrooksBaseball.com)
If Darvish continues to throw his fastballs up and away and doesn’t limit his walks so he is not constantly falling behind hitters, it could be a long night in Arlington. The Rangers bats have given Darvish his perfect 2-0 record, so don’t be fouled by that.
This is a tough one because both pitchers do not have a lot of history to look at.
The only thing I can base any prediction on is the several times I have witnessed the Yankees get whiffed by a new pitchers, which is more than I like to admit.
So, I have to give the advantage to Darvish and the Rangers but in all honesty this could go in many directions.
My prediction for tonight’s game is Rangers beat the Yankees with a score of 5-2.